Large mountain dogs have a certain regal appeal that draws in many animal lovers. Two of the most striking breeds in this category are the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Great Pyrenees. These dogs are often compared to one another due to their similar appearance, but there are numerous differences in their temperament, training, health, diet, and breeding that should be taken into consideration when deciding which breed is right for you.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a stunning animal that has a sweet and affectionate nature. These large, powerful dogs were bred to work hard and are even-tempered, but they won’t hesitate to engage in play battles with their owner. They have a silky coat with three standard colors: rust, white, and black. These markings are unique to the Bernese Mountain Dog and set them apart from the Great Pyrenees. With an intelligence level that puts them high on the list of the most intelligent dogs, they emanate a majestic and noble aura.
On the other hand, the Great Pyrenees is known for its majestic aura, large and thick coats and powerful working abilities. Initially bred to protect sheep from predators and wolves at the top of snowy mountains, their behavior is Zen-like, but they can be quick to take action to protect their flock when necessary. They have lush white coats with a few gray, tan, badger, or reddish-brown markings in some cases. They are large, robust dogs that can stand at the height of 32 inches and weigh up to 100 pounds.
While both dogs can be classified as large mountain dogs, there are many differences that set them apart. Let’s take a closer look at each category.
Personality and Characteristics
Although Bernese Mountain Dogs and Great Pyrenees share many physical traits, they have different temperaments. Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their hardiness, and they thrive in cold weather conditions. They are incredibly loyal animals that make excellent family dogs. They are particularly gentle with children and get along with other dogs and animals. They are also known for their reserved nature with strangers and will maintain distance instead of being too friendly or hostile.
On the other hand, the Great Pyrenees has a mellow yet vigilant temperament, making them great companions that can protect your home and family. They are independent thinkers, and their intelligence level allows them to train with ease. They are particularly protective of their owner, which may make them less tolerant of strangers.
The ideal diet for both breeds is high-quality dog food that is ideal for large-breed dogs. It is ideal to supplement their diet with proteins such as lean meats, fish, and vegetables, though pet owners should ensure the diet is approved by a veterinarian. Bernese Mountain Dogs may be more at risk of obesity, so it is crucial to monitor their calorie consumption and weight level. On the other hand, Great Pyrenees tend to eat less than other dogs of similar sizes, but they are territorial over their food.
Both these breeds require early socialization and obedience training, but Great Pyrenees may require more persistence as they tend to think independently. The training process should be gentle, as both breeds tend to be sensitive.
Health and Care
Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to have a few health issues, such as blood disorders, progressive retinal atrophy, hip/elbow dysplasia, and cancer. They may also be vulnerable to bloat, a life-threatening condition that may arise from twisting and distending the dog’s stomach. As for Great Pyrenees, they may have issues like gastric dilatation-volvulus (GBV) or bloat, which can cause incredible pain due to unknown reasons. Regular checkups and maintenance are essential for both breeds to avoid possible medical problems.
Breeding a Bernese Mountain Dog can be a challenging process and comes with significant risks. Comparatively, Great Pyrenees breeds naturally and with less difficulty than the Bernese Mountain Dog.
When deciding which breed is better suited for your household, it is imperative to keep in mind the suitability of the breed for your specific lifestyle. Bernese Mountain Dogs are great for families who are interested in outdoor activities and play. They are especially ideal for families living in colder climates. If you don’t have sufficient outdoor space and live in hot weather conditions, then a Great Pyrenees may not be the right fit.
In conclusion, while large mountain dogs may look similar, there are several differences between breeds that should be considered before adopting. Each breed has its unique traits, temperament, and care requirements that make them better suited for some households over others. If you’re looking for a loyal, intelligent dog for an active home, Bernese Mountain Dogs will be an excellent pet option. For families seeking a gentle protector that tends to be alert and vigilant, the Great Pyrenees is an excellent choice.